Political Detainee calls for period of Revo to be documented

A former political detaines during the 1979-1983 Grenada Revolution is calling for that part of Grenada’s history to be documented.

Ex-Parliamentarian Kenny Lalsingh who appeared as a guest on a local FM radio station made the comment while discussing the events of the revolution that was charted by the Marxist-oriented New Jewel Movement (NJM) headed by Maurice Bishop.

According to Lalsingh he has a problem in that up to this date, the period of the revolution has not been properly documented.

“We need to document that period from March 13th 1979 to October 25th (1983), because that is a very sound part of our history. It is the first English-speaking Caribbean country where you had a revolution,” he said.
Lalsingh charged that the agenda of Bishop and his Deputy, Bernard Coard was to create the first revolution in the region similar to that of the Cuban Revolution.

“What they did not understand is that the people in Cuba and the people in Grenada, they were completely different. In Grenada, almost every person in Grenada had owned something already. It was a completely different place to Cuba. So you could not come and implant a Cuban Revolution in Grenada. It didn’t make sense, and so they created a lot of resistance… and that is why the revolution in Grenada, after a while was not making the kind of political and economic impact as they expected,” he said.

According to Lalsingh, while he is not indicating that the revolution was justified, he felt that the conditions for the armed overthrow of the duly elected government on March 13, 1979 was created by the then sitting Prime Minister, Sir Eric Matthew Gairy.

He said “Gairy’s behaviour” helped to fuel the Revolution.

The autocratic Gairy was often accused by the NJM of rigging elections and using a Secret Police outfit known as the Mongoose Gang to harass his opponents.

Lalsingh branded the leaders of the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) that took over after the overthrow of Gairy as being “criminals” without giving details.

“People like Maurice (Bishop) because he was a flamboyant and eloquent speaker … people thought he was a Saint, but he wasn’t. Everybody knows Coard was brutal, and he practiced his brutality,” he said.

Lalsingh was believed to be aligned to the now defunct Grenada National Party (GNP) of H.A Blaize when he was detained by the revolutionary leaders for engaging in so-called counter-revolutionary activities.

He was never charged in a law court.

Lalsingh also wants to see better prominence placed on October 25, which is now a Bank Holiday known as “Thanksgiving Day.

U.S and Caribbean troops staged a military intervention in Grenada on October 25, 1983 – six days after Bishop and three Cabinet ministers were executed on Fort George following a bitter power struggle for control of the NJM with a radical faction headed by Coard.

The faction, which included ideologues Liam James, Ewart “Headache” Layne and Leon “Bogo” Cornwall, had been able to out manoeuvre Bishop to enjoy majority support within the powerful NJM Central Committee.

The group was able to get passage at the CC level for the implementation of a Joint Leadership within the NJM between Bishop and Coard.

Bishop reneged on the agreement and bitter feuding started between the two factions.

According to Lalsingh, October 25 should be seen as “a special day” in Grenada when democracy came back to the island as the Leaders of the Grenada Revolution fought and killed each other resulting in chaos.

October 25 is observed by the State with just a Thanksgiving Service organised by the Conference of Churches of Grenada (CCG).

The American-owned St. George’s University (SGU) also holds a ceremony to pay tribute to U.S soldiers who were killed in the military operation to restore law and order in the Spice Isle.

Lalsingh wants to see the various villages around the island give praise and thanks to God, and to engage in massive cook-ups and God, and to engage in massive cook-ups and parties on October 25th.

Former Army Officer in the disbanded People’s Revolutionary Army (PRA), Kennedy Budhlall who was also a guest on the programme felt that it is time for Grenadians to get the truth about the whole revolutionary process.

Budhlall claimed that the late Teddy Victor’s book “Deception On Conception” was biased in certain things about the revolution.

He said Victor “had fell out of grace” with the Leaders of the Revolution, and accused him of making an attempt to get weapons from certain people in the PRA.

The former Army Officer who is now associated with the ruling New National Party (NNP) indicated that the current crop of politicians who were also once connected with the PRG have not learnt from the lessons of the revolution.

Budhlall claimed that at the beginning of the feud that existed in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) when it was in government between 2008 and 2013, one of the members informed him that they had to do the work for the now Political Leader, Nazim Burke.“Them men go in NDC and do the same, same thing again. This is the most puzzling thing. The same old trick Bernard Coard tried… where he worked his way up to the leadership, surround himself with strong, key people within the army structure and ensure that all his potential enemies get eliminated,” he said.

The other significant player in the Congress turmoil, attorney-at-law, Peter David, a former Army Captain, is now the Assistant General Secretary in the ruling New National Party (NNP).

Budhlall said what Coard brought into the NJM was ideological clarity, political skills and organisation which, according to him, was lacking in the party.
Coard now lives in Jamaica with his wife Phyllis after he was released from prison along with several of the NJM leaders who were convicted for the executions on Fort George.

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